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News Now

CU System
Sentencing postponed for developer in kickback scheme
PHOENIX (3/14/12)--A U.S. District Court judge postponed sentencing until April 9 for a Yuma, Ariz., businessman who allegedly took part in a scheme to defraud AEA FCU.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton rescheduled the sentencing because new information about the scope of the losses that led to AEA FCU's insolvency have emerged (Yuma Sun March 12).

Frank Ruiz in June pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of transactional money laundering for receiving millions of dollars in fraudulent business loans from William Liddle, AEA's former vice president of business lending.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Ruiz could have been sentenced up to 15 years in prison, but the government has requested that he receive a 12-month sentence and years of probation because of his assistance in the successful prosecution of Liddle and his wife, Rhonda.

Ruiz accounted for about $900,000 in losses, according to the government. The majority of the $50 million in fraudulent loans were made among the Liddles and other borrowers.

In postponing the sentence, Bolton said that Ruiz should be held accountable for more losses. She called the loan scam a Ponzi scheme.

According to his plea agreement, Ruiz could face a maximum $250,000 fine, a maximum five years in prison and three years of probation for the one count of conspiracy. For the second count of transactional money laundering, he faces a maximum $250,000 fine, a maximum of 10 years in prison and three years' probation (KSWT.com March 11).

AEA FCU, based in Yuma, Ariz., with $229 million in assets, was placed into conservatorship by the National Credit Union Administration until it recovered.


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